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Mercury Marine celebrates 85 years of innovation, inspiration and memories made on the water

Since 1939, Mercury Marine has made it our mission to connect people with the water. To power bold experiences and help fuel your most cherished memories. And while much has changed in the last 85 years, our focus remains the same: Empowering everyone to experience the freedom of life on the water and to Go Boldly in pursuit of their passions. 

85 Years of Bold

Bold Innovation: Mercury has a history of leading from the front. From digital controls and powerful, efficient engines to all-electric outboards, our innovations have shaped the industry, redefining marine propulsion in ways that make boating easier, more connected and more sustainable.

Bold Experiences: Reliability and confidence go hand in hand – and they’ve always come first. It’s why generations of boaters have trusted Mercury to power their on-water experiences. We’re proud of the moments Mercury has helped make possible.

Bold Inspiration: Mercury has always sought to unite boaters around the passions and causes close to them. We’re champions for conservation and have stood behind some of the most accomplished anglers, organizations and marine research institutes on the water.

My Mercury Memories

For 85 years, we’ve been powering bold adventures, but none of this would be possible without one thing … You! Help us celebrate 85 Years of Bold by sharing photos and stories of some of your favorite memories on the water with Mercury.

Share Your Story: Have our products played a part in your boating journey? We want to see it! Post your story, photos, or videos using #85YearsOfBold.

Mercury Marine Timeline

January 22, 1939

Elmer Carl Kiekhaefer purchases the bankrupt Cedarburg Manufacturing Company intending to build magnetic separators for the dairy farm industry. He redesigns and repairs 300 outboard motors abandoned by the previous owners, then sells the motors and suddenly finds himself in the outboard motor business, selling Seahorse and Thor brands. 


The Corium Farms dairy barn and surrounding 38 acres are purchased and repurposed as the new Kiekhaefer Marine production facility. Mercury’s current Plant 4 between Hickory Street and Pioneer Roads sits on the land previously occupied by the Corium barn. 


The first six-cylinder outboard engine, the Mercury Mark 75, is introduced. At 60 hp, it is the most powerful outboard available and establishes new fuel efficiency standards.


“The Tower of Power,” the Mercury 1000, is the world’s first 100 horsepower production outboard. It is also the first Mercury outboard painted “Phantom Black,” which will become Mercury’s exclusive color and signature branding.


E. C. Kiekhaefer resigns as “chairman, president and founder,” of Kiekhaefer Mercury. Breaks ground on The Ledge near Fond du Lac for a new 60,000-square-foot Kiekhaefer Aeromarine facility. 


The 1750 “Black Max” is introduced as the first V-6 outboard, the highest horsepower, most fuel-efficient production motor available. The motor and its marketing campaign become iconic in the marine industry and among boaters of all stripes.


Electronic Fuel Injection outboards debut with the Mercury Laser XRI and the Mariner Magnum EFI.


Mercury brings the first Direct Fuel Injected (DFI) two-stroke low-emissions outboard to market. The 200 DFI OptiMax astounds the marine industry by providing greatly improved fuel economy, smoother running and a reduction in hydrocarbon and carbon monoxide emissions despite great speed and torque.


Mercury officially introduces the Verado family of four-stroke outboards. The world’s first supercharged in-line six-cylinder production outboard. Verado earns the International Boatbuilder’s Exhibition Innovation Award and is named the Top Outboard by Field & Stream magazine.


J.D. Powers presents Mercury Marine a pair of customer satisfaction awards for DFI outboards and sterndrive engines.Mercury is named Wisconsin Manufacturer of the Year and receives the Governor’s Export Achievement Award from the state of Wisconsin.


The Mercury 150 FourStroke is launched at the Genoa, Italy, boat show as the most durable, smallest and lightest 150 hp four-stroke engine and the first to combine traditional two-stroke benefits with advanced technologies.


Mercury introduces the V6 FourStroke outboard family and the expansion of its SeaPro commercial line at the 2018 Miami International Boat Show. The new engine family, which builds on the success of Mercury’s 75-150hp FourStroke outboards, features 175hp, 200hp and 225hp FourStroke outboards and a V6 200hp SeaPro commercial outboard. In addition, Mercury also introduces multiple new 4.6L V8 outboard engine models – the 250 and 300hp Verado® , 200, 225, 250 and 300hp Pro XS® – plus the Pro XS® 175hp 3.4L V6. These next-generation outboard engines are part of the largest single new-product development program Mercury has undertaken in its 85-year-history.


First ever to the market, Mercury introduces the world’s first 7.6‑liter V12 600hp Verado® outboard engine. With this launch, Mercury continues to transform the high-horsepower outboard market, providing its most powerful and capable outboard, which includes several industry‑first features for a wide variety of applications.


Mercury Marine introduces industry’s first ever V10 outboard with the official launch of its all-new 5.7L 350 and 400hp Verado® outboard engines and the Mercury® Avator™ 7.5e electric outboard at the Consumer Electronics Show® 2023 in Las Vegas. Avator is Mercury’s next step forward in marine innovation and the 7.5e model is the first in a series of electric outboard products to be released in 2023.

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